Libmonster ID: KG-687
Author(s) of the publication: E. M. RUSAKOV

Every century of human history is unique in its own way. But for us, who are now living, the twentieth century is of particular interest, because to this day we live in the "long" twentieth century, and remain, in the language of Soviet classics-feuilletonists, its "product of the epoch" ("Who is Catherine the Great?" "Product of the epoch"). The term "long nineteenth century" was coined by Western historians of our time, referring to the period from the declaration of independence of the United States to the First World War (1776-1914).1. Some of them, including one of the most authoritative - the Briton E. Hobsbawm, called the" short XX century "of 1914 - 1991, giving the" honor "to the Soviet Union to complete this era with its collapse 2. But, apparently, it is too early, in the jargon of historians, to divide the last segment of the annals of mankind, which, perhaps,can be called the "short XX century". they will call it the "long XX century", including the beginning of the XXI century.

If you get rid of the hypnosis of the calendar, especially the beginning of the third millennium, in a certain sense, we still live in the "long XX century", which turned the history of mankind upside down with two world wars, the awakening of the East, the collapse of the last empires, the formation of almost a hundred new states, the modernization of the main part of humanity and the unprecedented rise of innovative breakthroughs, starting from the assembly line and from the atomic bomb to information and communication technologies.

When we think about today and tomorrow, we have to turn willy-nilly to the twentieth century. This is also true of China, whose rapid economic and geopolitical rise in recent decades has been the subject of special attention around the world. Contrary to the now common perception that it is "easy" to integrate the country into global processes, especially market ones, it was also long and difficult for China. Success came after more than a century of agonizing search for ways of modern development, civil and foreign wars, revolutions. Just like in Russia/In the Soviet Union, this difficult path was replete with trial and error and totalitarian "excesses" that led to senseless human losses in the tens of millions. On a broader historical scale, Sinologists are interested in the following questions:: how can we explain the internal logic of Chinese history - the periodic death and rebirth of Chinese empires? What are the factors that led to social disasters in China? Is the evolution of this country fatally cyclical?

The Xinhai Revolution of 1911 was at the origin of China's modern modernization, its involvement in the flow of modern world development and the country's revival. It led to the collapse in 1912 of the dynastic-monarchical system, which had existed in one form or another for more than 2 thousand years, and became the trigger for a new series of upheavals that ended many decades later with the formation of the PRC, the beginning of current economic reforms and the rise of the New China.

The chronicle of this dramatic turn in the fate of the Middle Kingdom is dedicated to the fundamental work of our author, an authoritative Sinologist historian, ved.n.s. of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences Yu. V. Chudodeev " The Collapse of the monarchy in China "(Moscow, IV RAS, 2013, 392 p). At the same time, he was advised by venerable Chinese scientists - professors of the Institute of World History of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Chen Zhihua and Zhang Gong.

In itself, it is interesting how one of the oldest civilizations eventually "caught up" with the West, becoming the second economy in the world and one of the world's leading powers. But it seems that the analysis of the "great march" to modernization also helps to better understand the present of China and, to some extent, predict its future. Of course, futurology is a slippery science, but if you treat it as an analysis of possible alternatives and trends in the development of individual countries, and indeed of the whole of humanity, then it not only has the right to exist, but is also very useful for obtaining scientific knowledge. Moreover, in my opinion, due to the acceleration of the process of complication of human society, the line between the traditional understanding of history as a science of the past and the study of the present is now being blurred. In the course of one generation, the present becomes the past, and the future becomes the present.

Modern Chinese civilization is based on two pillars. One of them is a tradition that is more than 3,500 years old, not counting the more ancient primary agricultural (Neolithic) millet and rice crops, 3 which are sometimes incorrectly identified, in my opinion, with civilizations that are usually associated with writing, government, large cities, etc. (Apparently, the statements of some Chinese scientists are also connected with this). historians about 5 or even 7 thousand years of the existence of the Chinese civilization 4.)

The second is the experience of "catch-up development" in the sense of long and long-term development.-

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difficult assimilation of the modern industrial lifestyle. The most successful emerging market China has emerged in the last three decades, integrating itself into the emerging global high-tech society of the 21st century.

The author's work consists of three sections.

The first is a brief but succinct account of the history of the Chinese monarchy, covering more than 2 thousand years; the second is the search for ways to "catch up" with the industrial societies that were formed in the West, the crisis of the Qing monarchy and its collapse; the third is the "long send-off" of the past, including in the person of the last emperor Pu Yi, and the country's entry into the orbit of modern society.

The author's reference to history in the conditional first section of the book is more than justified. According to him, China is one of the countries with an ancient history and a continuously developing culture. It is the continuity of socio-economic, political and cultural development that makes up the specifics of China - its people and state. And the process of statehood formation in the country is inseparable from the history of its monarchical structures, which were guided by the course of strengthening the state principle, purposeful building of the vertical of power in politics, economy and ideology. The tendency of authoritarian, autocratic management of a huge mass of people is inherent in the Chinese tradition, which dates back to Confucianism (pp. 375-376).

Yu. V. Chudodeev recalls that East Asia, especially its north-eastern part, where the Chinese civilization was formed, was almost throughout its history an isolated region, separated from other ancient centers of world civilization by mountains, jungles, deserts and vast distances. This determined the autonomous and unique character of the formation and development of its civilization in a closed and isolated space not only in ancient times, but, by and large, almost until the end of the XVIII century (pp. 8, 157-158). However, even in ancient times, a significant contact with the then Ecumene took place - the Han people borrowed a domesticated horse, which was brought by the fair-haired, blue-eyed Indo-European Tokhar people, who made the great nomadic trek through the Great Steppe sung by L. Gumilev from the Northern Black Sea coast to the present north-west of China, mainly Xinjiang, almost 4.5 thousand years ago. 5

China's more or less serene rule in East Asia, interrupted at times by the conquest of the throne by Chinese "barbarians" (the Mongols of the Yuan dynasty and the Manchus of the Qing dynasty), was disrupted by the West. As Hobsbawm wrote, "before the merchants, steam engines, ships, and guns of the West - and before its ideas - centuries-old civilizations and empires gave up and crumbled to dust." 6

"The invasion of the West resulted in the forcible inclusion in the world socio-economic and cultural process - a kind of globalization-which was carried out through colonial and semi - colonial seizures," the author believes. "The West imposed its own model of development, which China was hardly forced to adapt to its traditional concepts" (p.377).

Still, I would put the emphasis a little differently.

The external factor - the defeats in the "opium" trade wars with Great Britain and the Sino-Japanese war, of course, had a huge impact on China, starting the crisis of the Qing monarchy, aggravating it and raising the masses to fight against the "overseas barbarians". But even after suffering the bitterness of defeat, in a shriveled state, China remained a great power and behaved as such in relation to its Asian neighbors (of course, except for Japan). After all, the rulers of the dynasty still looked at their state as the center of the world - the only center of civilization (p. 159).

As for the humiliations of China, of course, they took place. But didn't the European powers humiliate each other?! During the Hundred Years ' War, the British conquered half of France and executed Joan of Arc. The Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa literally razed Milan to the ground in the 12th century, and French kings and Napoleon plundered Rome and other Italian cities, taking priceless treasures... And the history of the defeats and victories of France and Germany in the Franco-Prussian and two world Wars?! And so it continued until the end of the Second World War. In addition, the "humiliation" of the Qing Dynasty contributed to the gradual liberation of neighboring countries, first from Chinese, and then from both Western and Japanese rule.

According to some experts, the imperial "resentment" (in some cases fair) still lives in the minds and hearts of many Chinese. According to the American professor I. Buruma, "patriotism, based on a century of humiliations inflicted by foreign powers, ranging from the 'opium wars' to the 'Nanking massacre'*, has become the official ideology "7.

Change was imposed by life itself. The main driver of internal upheaval in China, after all, was the urgent need to rebuild outdated political and socio-economic systems and the fierce, and often brutal, struggle between its supporters and opponents. The shame of military defeats and the gigantic social explosion inside the country in the middle of the XIX century forced the Qing leaders to lean towards partial modernization of the state, primarily in the military sphere.

No matter how we think about Peter I, his transformations became a "beacon" for the most authoritative supporter of reforms in China in the Dosinhai period, Kang Yuwei, as well as for the "fathers" of the Meiji Restoration (revolution) in Japan in 1868, and even earlier-the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire Selim III (1789-1807) and others. the famous Muhammad Ali of Egypt (1805 - 1848). An example for Chinese reformers was Japan, which ended unequal treaties, and many oppositionists, including Sun Yat-sen, even found refuge there during times of persecution. Unlike China, the Land of the rising Sun has been isolated from the West for more than two centuries, not only by tradition and high mountains, but also by the complete severance of all contacts, except for the small island in Nagasaki that I happened to visit. "Opening


* "Nanking Massacre" - mass murders and atrocities committed by Japanese militarists in Nanking in 1937.

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Japan" in the sense of extracting it from its own cocoon occurred in 1853 thanks to the guns of the American squadron of Commodore Perry. That is, the "imposition" took place. But the Japanese quickly realized that you can't sit out on the islands, and you can only successfully fight the West, by the way, which then included Tsarist Russia due to its economic and military power, with its own weapons. And within a few decades, they transformed the country, "catching up" with the economically developed powers.

The fall of the monarchy in China was not only a watershed in the country's history, but also an important part of the world-historical process (p.5).

As Yu. V. Chudodeev notes, "a complex, painful process of interaction between two different life systems and attitudes began, in which Western technicism, Chinese Confucian spirituality, Western realism and Chinese irrationality, the idea of equality and the desire for hierarchy, radicalism and the desire for evolution not only opposed but also mutually complemented each other" (p. 377).

Unlike France at the end of the 18th century and Russia at the beginning of the 20th century. After the collapse of the monarchy, the last Chinese emperor, Pu Yi, remained an authoritative political figure almost until the end of World War II, even becoming a puppet of the Japanese militarists. The Soviet Union finally put an end to the dynasty after the surrender of the Kwantung Army in August 1945, when Pu Yi was captured by Soviet paratroopers. He served five years in the Khabarovsk special camp, after which he was handed over to the Chinese authorities. But they also treated Pu Yi quite graciously: there was no trial. However, he still had to repent with his memoirs, apparently well "edited" by agitprop. He worked in the Beijing Botanical Garden, and was even elected a member of the country's parliament, completing his earthly career in 1967 (pp. 371-374). When comparing the history of China with Russia, another circumstance that I think is underestimated (in Russian historiography) is striking, namely: in Russia, all putschs of the "siloviki" ended in collapse, with the exception of palace coups led by one of the pretenders to the throne in the XVIII century. N. S. Khrushchev in 1964), whether it was the Streletsky revolt of 1698, the Decembrist, Kornilov or GKChP. Apparently, even during the civil war, the decisive role was played by the fact that the Bolsheviks had a political leadership, and the White Army remained at the hand of brave, but poorly understood military leaders in big politics. In China, during the reign of Empress Ci Xi, under the influence of internal (Taiping rebellion) and external (war) factors, governors - leaders of regional military groups-began to come to the fore. Yuan Shikai, the head of the most powerful of them, the Bei Yang dynasty, not only played a decisive role in the peaceful overthrow of the Manchu dynasty, but also became the first president of republican China. After his death, in the " era of militarists "(1916-1928), the general's cliques actually tore apart the previously unified empire. Then the military Party Government (Kuomintang)came to power8. The Chinese Communist Party seems to be taking these lessons from the past into account, keeping the army under close scrutiny.

The author concludes his work with the following words:" Reflecting on the fate of modern China in connection with the analysis of the Xinhai events, I would like to hope that China has exhausted its time of revolutions, which, as history shows, lead to innumerable victims and catastrophic consequences " (p.382).

I think that all the friends and partners of China and even not the most stupid enemies will join this wish: the upheavals in the Middle Kingdom would be too expensive for the whole world. Unfortunately, the risk of an unfavorable turn of events remains: the political framework of Chinese society is too rigid, and it is not as flexible as, say, India, with all its external turmoil. Following socio-economic reforms, the country needs a more thorough structural adjustment of the political system, if only to ensure its flexible strength. Only time will tell how smoothly this process will go.

The work of Yu. V. Chudodeyev can also serve as a useful tool for understanding the present and future of the Middle Kingdom, and the popular scientific style of presentation can attract the interest of a wide range of readers, including not only specialists, but also all lovers of history, political science and futurology.

E. M. RUSAKOV, Candidate of Historical Sciences, columnist of the magazine "Asia and Africa Today" on the problems of East and South Asian countries


Eric Kobsbaum. 1st Century of the Empire. 1875 - 1914. Rostov-on-Don, 1999, pp. 15-16.

Hobsbawm Eric. 2 The Age of Extremes. History of the World, 1914 - 1991. N.Y., Vintage Books, p. 3 - 11.

Palmquist Lennart. 3 The Great Transition. First farmers of the Western World, p. 17 - 35; Barnes Gina. China, p. 134 - 137 // Burenhult Goran, gen. ed. People of Stone Age. Hunter-gatherers and Early Farmers. Harper-SanFrancisco, 1993.

4 For more details, see: Rusakov E. M. Vremya i vzne prostranstva [Beyond Time and Beyond Space], Asia and Africa Today, 2009, No. 11 (ed.).

Mallory J.P. 5 In Search of Indo-Europeans. Language, Archeology and Myth. N.Y., 1991, p. 56 - 63; Anthony David W. The Horse, the Wheel and Language. How Bronze-Age Riders From the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World. N.J., Princeton University Press, 2010; Wayland Barber Elizabeth. The Mummies of Urumchi. N.Y., L., W.W.Norton&Co., 1999.

Hobsbawm Eric. 6th Century of the revolution. Europe 1789-1848. Rostov-on-Don Publ., 1999, p. I.

Buruma Ian. 7 A Dangerous Rift Between China and Japan. As the U.S. urges restraint, Asia's two great powers play politics with the past and court a crisis // The Wall Street Journal, 11.05.2013.

8 For more information, see: Nepomnin O. E. History of China. XX century. Moscow, IV RAS, 2011, pp. 176-272.

From the editorial office. In the article Roshchin G. E. International Corporations in Africa, published in No. 12-2013, on page 32 (at the bottom of the third column, on the third line of the last paragraph), a typo was made. It should read: "... the best SNOOK in the world...".


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